21 Baptisms at Hui Aranga

There were 21 Baptisms at Easter Sunday Mass at the 2016 Hui Aranga gathering held in Whanganui.

Several hundred people attended the event over Easter weekend this year.

The occasion marked 70 years since Hui Aranga first started.

Fr Phil Cody, SM, said the Baptisms were linked with Catholic Māori clubs from Whanganui and Hawkes Bay.

The ages of those baptised ranged from babies to adults, including three teenagers.

In an especially moving instance, a mother and child were both baptised, Fr Cody said.

“The Hawkes Bay group were prepared by the late Pā Hemi Hekiera SM, so it was very moving for Pā David Gledhill, who lived and worked with Pā Hemi in the missionary ‘Whaia Te Whaea’, to complete the work he had begun.”

Fr Cody said it is quite common to have Baptisms at the Easter Mass at the Hui Aranga, but noted that this year’s number is higher than usual.

He noted a strong emphasis on youth at the Hui Aranga.

“The Hui is largely about youth – there is a special youth council and youth take part in as much as possible in the services – for example a group of 75 on stage singing ‘This little light of mine’ as part of the Easter Vigil service of the Light of Christ.

“The Hui Aranga is where many Māori Catholic, young and old, find an expression of being fully Māori and Catholic.”

The keenly contested Kapa Haka competitions were won by three clubs from the Whanganui River region  – St Peter Chanel (senior), St Vincent (junior) and Parakino (midgets).

On Easter Sunday, before Mass, the nine clubs present dressed up in special uniforms and marched to Mass.

Pā Tipene Hancy was the local Māori priest who led the services on Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday.

“A big question facing Māori Catholic is priesthood and Māori seminarians to carry on the leading of the Hui,” Fr Cody said.

Next year’s Hui Aranga will be held at Aquinas College in Tauranga.

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News category: New Zealand.

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